Saying goodbye to your union (Web Sight)

Many union members may not realize they have some say in whether they should continue to be represented by their union or not. When it comes to decertification, however, employers are always on thin ice. Any employee efforts to decertify will be wasted if the employer is judged to have been unduly involved in the decertification process. The following sites provide useful information about decertification: how it starts, where it goes and what employers can and cannot do. (Links will open in a new window.)

Decertification brochure

The Ontario Ministry of Labour created a brochure on union decertification for employers to post in the workplace. The brochure contains information, not legal advice. It is not the complete legal code, but it does provide information on how to access the Labour Relations Act. It outlines in plain language who can file a decertification application, at what point in the bargaining relationship the application can be filed and how the application is handled by the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB).

Neutral labour law information

This comprehensive site run by Canadian LabourWatch Association seeks “to be neutral in its message by being factual and never attacking unions, employers or governments in our explanations of labour law.” To access the resources, from the home page select your language of preference, and also whether you are an employer or an employee. You will be presented with recent labour news, frequently asked questions and a newsletter signup. From the “Downloads” option on the left, you will find links to forms, instructions and other province-specific documents on decertification of a union.

Case study

This business case study on Starbucks Corporation traces the company from its humble beginnings as a pet project of three academics in Seattle, through its rise to industry giant with CEO Howard Schultz. Starbucks was ranked ninth in Fortune magazine’s list of “America’s Most Admired Companies” in February of this year. Few may know that once upon a time Starbucks was a union shop. There is only a small mention of union decertification in the second chapter (1987-1992), but it’s a fascinating business read nonetheless.

Federal site

The Canada Industrial Relations Board’s Web site has a general information page featuring frequently asked questions about the process of decertifying a union. The FAQ thoroughly answers questions dealing with confidentiality, the bargaining unit, labour board investigations, representation votes and related issues. At the bottom of the page, there is a link containing contact information for all the regional directors.

International labour news

This is a trade union news site featuring international labour news. News stories, listed alphabetically by country, make this site a valuable source of information on absolutely any aspect of unionized labour. There is a lot of scrolling, as the site is not very stimulating to look at or very well laid out. But for those who take the time to skim down the page, there are lots of interesting tidbits to be found from all over the globe.

View from B.C.

This site is designed to provide independent commentary on political news and issues primarily from British Columbia. On the left of the home page, click on the “Labour News” link to see various articles of interest, especially those focusing on the changes to B.C. labour laws. There are some particularly interesting articles under the “Editorials” link discussing the new laws and the U.N.’s recent criticism of the B.C. Liberal government.

Shannon Simson is Canadian HR Reporter’s resource editor. Her Web Sight column appears regularly in the CloseUp section. To share an interesting HR Web site, contact [email protected].

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